An animated farm, creatures from another planet, and a table dedicated to JFK all find their home at the Grassroots Art Center in Lucas, Kansas. It might be an odd combination, but they all carry one theme.
"Grassroots is not fine art. It is not folk art. It's a unique category of people who are self taught. Usually in Kansas, they are of retirement age when they start," explained Executive Director Rosslyn Schultz.
Kansas ranks third in the U.S. for grassroots art sites. Lucas saw its many unique attractions and needed a place to celebrate them. They created the center in a former bank building downtown to house everything from figures made of orange peels to a motorcycle created completely from old pull tabs.
"These are just ordinary people creating something extraordinary in their retirement years."
Artists come from mostly Kansas and all over the Midwest. Each one has created his or her own unique environment and landscape. Inez Marshall took the native Kansas limestone and carved sculptures of settlers on the Plains, Abraham Lincoln, and the Last Supper.
"Whether it seems really important to you or I, it's one thing to get you out of bed and attack your art and set it out for the whole world to see."
Samuel Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden may have inspired many of the other grassroots artists in Lucas. Some might even say something's in the water. Either way, they want to leave visitors motivated.
"That's our goal. You should feel that creative urge. We've had several women say that's why you're saving all that stuff in the garage to their husbands or vice versa," said Schultz.
At first glance, there might not be any similarities in the art at the center. But take a closer look and see the imaginations of artists who did it all on their own.
A trip to the Grassroots Arts Center also includes a visit to their limestone courtyard and the Deeble Rock Garden.